In the previous version of the National Policy Review (NPR) submitted in March 2014, we made an analysis of the sanitation programs in India from the 1980s and evaluated their performance. The focus of the paper was on evaluating the guidelines of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) and its overall performance. The state level guidelines were analysed for Tamil Nadu and Odisha and their differential performance in the program was also examined.
In this version of the NPR, PAC takes a rights based approach towards analysing sanitation in India. In the past year there have been significant changes in the sanitation space at the national level, the most important one being the NBA being replaced by the Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin (SBM-G).
Taking off from our understanding and experience with the NBA we have critically analysed the SBM-G. We have made an analysis of the SBM guidelines and evaluated the likelihood of the mission to succeed in areas where NBA couldn’t. SBM is designed to have strong focus on IEC and demand creation, this paper explores these aspects.
PAC has completed the first Citizen Report Card (CRC) in selected districts of Tamil Nadu and Odisha. CRCs were used to gather valuable feedback from beneficiaries of the Individual Household Latrines program (IHHL) under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
Results of the CRC in both states — Tamil Nadu and Odisha — give clear pointers to issues plaguing the NBA. These issues if unresolved will continue to cripple SBM as well. Not giving enough voice and choice to the beneficiaries and awarding contracts to NGOs and/or contractors to build toilets severely reduces the chances of completed and usable toilets, longevity of the toilets and, importantly, usage of the toilets. It is also important to remember that coverage data based on number of toilets built, do not give a clear picture regarding usage and will be an impediment to achieving Open Defecation-Free status by 2019 as envisaged by the SBM.
The NPR will be further revised to include our experience with advocacy and application of other social accountability took in the project districts in the future. It will also discuss in detail the changing policy scenario w.r.t rural sanitation in India and the institutional mechanisms that support the same.